Last month, Walmart opened a total of 70 specialty HIV pharmacies in Colorado, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Florida. By the close of 2023, the retail giant will have opened more than 80 such pharmacies in 11 states, according to a Walmart press statement, which refers to the pharmacies as “specialty pharmacies of the community.”
The HIV-focused pharmacies “are so essential,” explains the press statement, because Walmart has “a unique opportunity to reach people who might not otherwise have access to or feel comfortable seeking HIV care. Located conveniently and discreetly inside a Walmart pharmacy, our [specialty pharmacies of the community] help people living with HIV manage every aspect of their condition, right where they’re already shopping for their everyday essentials. From discussing treatment options to conversations around mental health to sharing resources and helping navigate insurance options, we’re committed to holistic care.”
As POZ reported last December, Walmart partnered with the Elton John AIDS Foundation to launch a nationwide training and education program to help its pharmacists better serve the needs of people living with and at risk for HIV and opened four HIV-focused pharmacies.
These pharmacies “help customers with all aspects of care, including industry-leading clinical programs, pharmacy services provided by HIV-trained pharmacists, enhanced care coordination, healthy lifestyle recommendations and emotional support services from our community health workers,” explained John Wigneswaran, MD, Walmart’s chief medical officer, and Kevin Host, the senior vice president of health and wellness with Walmart pharmacies, in a press statement about the December 2022 program and expansion.
Also at the end of 2022, Walmart was a founding member in the U.S. Business Action to End HIV, a coalition formed to “harness the influence and expertise of the private sector in support of achieving the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and ending the HIV epidemic in the United States by 2030,” as Harold J. Phillips, MRP, the director of the White House’s Office of National AIDS Policy, wrote in an HIV.gov blog post.
The founding members of U.S. Business Action to End HIV are Ada Health, Avita, BLK, Chispa, CVS Health, Gilead Sciences, Healthvana, the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, OraSure Technologies, The Powell Companies Real, Tinder, Uber, ViiV Healthcare, Walgreens and Walmart.